Summer Walker’s music evokes the spirit of the blues. The 25-year-old Atlanta native has a writing ability reminiscent of Bessie Smith’s descriptive love narratives, deeply personal but at the same time reflecting universal emotions and desires. Walker’s 2019 debut, Over It, was the most-streamed album by a female artist since Beyonce’s Lemonade a few years earlier; her mix of soulful, classic-feeling R&B and raw, modern-day lyrical themes including social anxiety and difficult relationships had fans appointing her, half jokingly, a feminine version of Drake. And while it’s clear she finds all the attention a little unsettling, it’s been a thrill to watch her grow.
Listeners who gravitate to Walker for her intense honesty won’t be disappointed by Still Over It. On the album-opening “Bitter,” the singer blatantly calls out the drama of her complicated relationship with ex-boyfriend and Over It producer London on da Track, who Walker recently had a child with. “London, did you screw this bitch for real?” Walker rhetorically asks, going on to wonder why the woman in question seems to be mad at her before concluding, “Bitches just be lookin’ for attention” on the “Shade Room and Insta.” The song ends with loving yet gritty advice from Cardi B in what appears to be a voicemail. “Don’t let bitches feel like they have one up … do it your own way, do it beautifully, do it special,” Cardi implores.
Musically, Over It nodded to R&B icons of the Nineties and early 2000s like 702 and Usher. Still Over It builds on that sound, with poppier moments like “Dat Right There,” and “Ex for a Reason,” which features a hard-hitting rap from JT of City Girls. The sultry “No Love,” featuring SZA, is a sex anthem about the need to sometimes “fuck, get drunk,” without the messy emotions that could come with attachment. The album moves smoothly and slowly on songs like “You Don’t Know Me,” the Ari Lennox feature “Unloyal,” and the sexy ballad “Screwin,” showcasing both Walker’s multifaceted voice and the excellent range of duet partner Omarion.
The second half of the LP can feel a little too relaxed and laid-back at points, but Walker ends on a powerful note with “4th Baby Mama,” an allusion to her being the mother of London’s fourth child. “I wanna start with your mama, she should’ve whooped your ass,” she sings. The song’s placement at the end of the album feels symbolic, making it Walker’s conclusive statement that she is, in fact, over it for good.
Following that soft yet cathartic track, she closes things down with a sisterly moment in “Ciara’s Prayer,” a benediction from the R&B singer Ciara: “Lord, thank you for reminding me who I am. I am a queen, I deserve to be treated like one. I’m a warrior, I will get up,” she prays. It’s the affirmation of new love that Walker’s fans have been waiting to hear for years: Lord willing, Summer Walker still has a lot of life — in love, and in music — ahead of her.
From Rolling Stone US